For many families, Christmas means special meals and time spent together in the kitchen preparing festive fare. There’s lots of Christmas cooking for kids to take part in, make it a memorable Christmas this year by getting the entire family involved with the Christmas cooking.
From baking and decorating tasty treats and edible gifts, to helping out with Christmas dinner, these cooking ideas are sure to get your little kitchen elves in the spirit of the season – and teach them a valuable skill or two along the way.
Christmas baking, sweet treats and snacks
Children are drawn to sweets and treats, which makes baking an easy way to get them excited about helping out in the kitchen.
• Christmas biscuits are a classic. Teach your children how to measure, get them to help stir, and have fun decorating as a family. Biscuits perfect for shaping and decorating include sugar cookies, gingerbread and shortbread.
• Christmas barks and brittles. Nut brittles and chocolate bark are ideal recipes for children because they’re simple – and the final results are so impressive! Add shaped, coloured sweets for a merry touch.
• Fudge. Easy to make, and a tasty gift. Children can help decorate the packaging with ribbons and coloured paper.
• Christmas tray bakes. Rocky road, brownies, chocolate peanut butter squares, blondies, spiced flapjacks – these classic tray bakes are easy to make and delicious to eat. Decorate with red and green sweets, hundreds and thousands, and other colourful cake toppers.
• Clever cupcakes. Make a batch of cupcakes together to form the base of this fun edible craft. Decorate chocolate cupcakes as reindeer, vanilla cupcakes as snowmen, red velvet as Santas, or use coloured icing to turn them into any festive form your child can dream up!
• Festive popcorn. Spiced with nuts or tossed in caramel, popcorn is a healthy holiday snack that you can turn into a simple gift by packing it into a Christmas bag or container.
Helping out with Christmas dinner
Christmas dinner is a special meal for the whole family, and preparing it can be fun for the whole family too. Make it an event by appointing your children kitchen elves – bonus points for coming up with an elf uniform for them (apron and hat?) and their own elf names!
• Canapés. Pick a few easy starters for your children to make (crudites and dips, pigs in blankets, cheese straws), or go with no-cook classics like crisps, olives and nuts. Let your children plate them and serve them around to everyone.
• Table prep. It may not seem like the most exciting job, but it can be a lot of fun to decorate the Christmas table. Put your children in charge of laying out place settings, folding napkins, setting out Christmas crackers, making place cards, etc.
• Washing and peeling veg. This is one job that can be an immense help to an overloaded cook. Teach your children how to properly wash and peel vegetables and set them to work – just make sure to closely supervise sharp implements like vegetable peelers.
• Stirring, mixing and measuring. You children can start to master these basic cookery skills under your supervision. Watch for the sense of pride and accomplishment when you serve something that they helped prepare.
• Mashing potatoes. A fun task that can help children expend a little of that extra Christmas energy.
• Wrapping the pigs in their blankets. This is an entertaining skill for older children to master, and the end result is sure to please.
• Helping with the washing up. All the best cooks clean as they go – lucky for you, this is a perfect task for your young kitchen elves! Get them to take turns washing and drying and the kitchen will be clean in no time.
Coming together as a family to prepare the food you’ll share over the Christmas season can build positive memories for your children, and will hopefully get them excited about cooking. Heap praise on their efforts – no matter how small or how successful – and watch their confidence grow.
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